SHANGHAI, China – Ford and China Unicom today announced a unique partnership that will open a new frontier for innovation by providing access to the powerful capabilities of Ford SYNC AppLink™ to developers on China Unicom’s WoStore.
Leveraging the in-vehicle connectivity features of AppLink and China Unicom’s leading 3G wireless technology, the agreement paves the way for the development of a growing number of apps for China Unicom’s WoStore, which can then be utilized in AppLink-enabled vehicles.
China Unicom, which has more than 400 million subscribers, will also promote AppLink and its technology on its WoStore developer portal.
“Ford is always looking to work with world class, leading technology partners to help further enhance the ownership experience for our customers through the greater integration of voice-controlled apps in Ford vehicle,” said David Huang, Senior Manager, Technology and Business Development, Connected Services, Ford Asia Pacific.
“China Unicom has a vast network, and by cooperating on access to AppLink’s technology, both Ford and China Unicom are paving the way for deeper collaboration in the future. Ford is constantly looking at new ways to go further for our growing customer base in China, and this partnership reinforces out deep and long-term commitment to this market.”
Exploring Greater Integration
China Unicom provides fixed line telephone services, broadband and other Internet-related services, information and communications technology services, business and data communications services. It currently has approximately 403 million subscribers.
The China Unicom WoStore allows users to download apps including games and internet browsers to their mobile devices. WoStore has progressed at an astonishing speed in the past two years. It is now offering services to more than 30 million users, with more than 1 million active users every day. As one of the biggest game and app downloading platforms, WoStore has more than 100,000 apps categorized in games, tools, entertainment, themes, life and books, with a 20 million downloads per month.
Ford and China Unicom are also investigating the possibility of integrating AppLink with China Unicom mobile apps, such as 116114, which offers a comprehensive information inquiry services about food, housing, transportation and tourism.
“This unique partnership with Ford will present enormous opportunities for us to collaborate on developing and introducing a whole range of apps and services in Ford vehicles, pairing our strong network of subscribers with the power and capability of AppLink,” said Wei Xin, General Manager, China Unicom WoStore.
The new partnership will provide opportunities for greater integration of apps via Ford SYNC AppLink, which allows customers to control applications on their smartphones from the driver’s seat using voice controls, through the Ford SYNC voice-activated connectivity system. AppLink is the only system in the auto industry that can control smartphone apps via voice control. AppLink can access mobile apps on Android, BlackBerry, and iOS smartphones.
The next generation of AppLink, or AppLink 2.0, which will expand the AppLink platform by allowing greater communication between smartphone apps and AppLink-equipped vehicles, is coming soon and will provide even greater capabilities for developers to create exciting apps that can be used in the vehicle.
Ford aims to deliver an integrated experience with smartphone applications and the vehicle including app control through voice and vehicle switches as well as the ability for the app to display information to the vehicle’s display. This integration occurs through Ford’s renowned
Software Development Kit (SDK) that allows smartphone app developers to modify existing apps to work hands-free using voice recognition through SYNC.